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Departments & Programs



Zoback Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group

Back Row, Left to Right: Robert Cieplicki (student), Arjun Kohli (alumnus), Abdulgader Alalli (student), Frederick Rall Walsh (student), Shaochuan Xu (student), Yves Gensterblum (postdoc alumnus), Xiong Zhang (former visiting researcher), Vanessa Azevedo (staff), Noha Farghal (student).
Front Row, Left to Right: Mark Zoback (faculty), Xiaodong Ma (postdoc), Jens-Erik Lund Snee (student), Maytham Al Ismail (alumnus), Randi Walters (alumnus), Fatemeh Rassouli (student), Fatimah Al-Ismail (student), Wei Wu (postdoc).
Missing: Lei Jin (student) & Kevin McCormack (student).


The Stress and Crustal Mechanics group uses knowledge of the state of stress in the Earth and the mechanical properties of Earth materials to investigate a variety of geophysical problems. These problems cover a variety of scales, ranging from pore scale processes and the mechanical behavior of reservoir-scale faults, to the strength of the lithosphere and the mechanics of major plate bounding faults such as the San Andreas.
Our group conducts basic and applied research in the areas of reservoir geomechanics, tectonophysics, and the physics of friction and faulting. We treat the Earth's crust as a natural laboratory, using a combination of stress and strain data obtained from boreholes, GPS measurements, and earthquake focal mechanisms to test theories about the behavior of the lithosphere. Our group is heavily engaged on applying these methodologies toward optimization of production from gas shale research and CO2 sequestration.

The group is directed by Professor Mark D. Zoback.

Mark Zoback is the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University.
Dr. Zoback conducts research on in situ stress, fault mechanics, and reservoir geomechanics with an emphasis on shale gas, tight gas and tight oil production. He was one of the principal investigators of the SAFOD project in which a scientific research well was successfully drilled through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depth. He is the author of a textbook entitled Reservoir Geomechanics published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. He is the author/co-author of 300 technical papers and holds five patents. He was the co-founder of GeoMechanics International in 1996, where he was Chairman of the Board until 2008.

Dr. Zoback has received a number of awards and honors, including the 2006 Emil Wiechert Medal of the German Geophysical Society and the 2008 Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, in 2012 he was elected to Honorary Membership in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and he is the 2013 winner of the Louis Néel Medal of European Geosciences Union and awarded an Einstein Chair Professorship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He recently served on the National Academy of Engineering committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident and the Secretary of Energy’s committee on shale gas development and environmental protection. He currently serves on a Canadian Council of Academies panel investigating the same topic. Dr. Zoback currently serves as a Senior Executive Adviser to Baker Hughes.